April 23 2021
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Central Oregon courts to offer text message reminders for hearings
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  Central Oregon Courts  
BEND, Ore. (KTVZ) -- The Oregon Judicial Department is launching a new service in all three Central Oregon counties to provide case parties with the opportunity to receive text message reminders for court hearings and changes.

The goal is to improve communication with parties directly involved in the case – including defendants, petitioners, respondents, and others – and reduce instances of "failure to appear."

The change will help parties in civil and out-of-custody criminal cases avoid financial and other consequences of failing to appear, keep cases moving, and increase productivity for courts, attorneys, law enforcement and other case participants by avoiding the cost and delays of rescheduling, officials said Tuesday.

In a criminal case, failure to appear can result in an arrest warrant and new charges for failure to appear. In a civil case, it can lead to a default judgment or a dismissal, depending on which party fails to appear.

OJD launched a pilot of the new service in the Josephine County Circuit Court on Feb. 8, bringing a new case category into the system each week over four weeks.

A group of "early adopter" circuit courts – Deschutes, Crook, Jefferson, Marion, Morrow and Umatilla counties – will go live on Monday, March 22 with all eligible case categories.

"Text messaging doesn't replace official court hearing notices," explained Jeff Hall, trial court administrator for the Deschutes County Circuit Court, "but it does allow parties who opt in to receive text message reminders and hearing updates. It's one more way the courts are putting technology to work to improve access to justice."

Hall noted that Oregon's state courts already provide online access to case information and court calendars; online forms and instructions, including "Guide and File" Q & A style forms that help people follow necessary steps and use required legal language for a successful filing; electronic case filing; online payment for fines and fees; opt-in reminders for people serving jury duty; and online access to self-help legal information. Read full story